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Performance Management

3 Major Benefits of Competency Based Management

September 12, 2016
5 min read
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Performance Management, Supercharged


We’ve recently discussed implementing competency based systems into the talent acquisition process, but competencies can be used throughout the entire talent lifecycle too! More specifically in onboarding, training, performance management and succession planning, a competency based approach provides transparency, consistency and the insight managers need to lead more effectively. Take a look at some key benefits employers reap when they build competencies into their entire talent management process.

Onboarding and New Hire Training

Surprisingly, 33% of new hires know whether they see themselves at their new company long-term after their first week! Since the first week is part of the onboarding stage, it’s crucial that parameters are set in place before day one to ensure the onboarding program is a success.

Onboarding success lies in how well new hires acclimate to their new role, how welcome they feel and how fast they grow from new hire to productive hire. A competency-based approach to onboarding ensures these things happen! By creating a competency onboarding map of the skills, knowledge and abilities the new hire needs to perform well in the role, a learning path emerges. You can also use this roadmap to identify goal posts for your new employee, which is doubly helpful in getting them up and running.

This learning path assists in defining the prerequisites managers or coworkers may have overlooked and forgotten to cover, and it also gives direction to the sequence of the employee training stage.

CC-Click-ToTweetBird-01.png 33% of #newhires know if they see themselves at their new company long-term after their first week:

How can you make this competency roadmap? If the position is a vacancy, look to old job descriptions, performance review data and those who were successful in the role. If this position has a duplicate in the company, survey those who are currently doing the job and ask them what they see as crucial competencies in the role. You may have to show them a skills versus competencies example to get them headed in the right direction. If this is a new role, the job is a little tougher. You and those around you may not know exactly what the role needs. In this case, combine company values and competencies from other, similar roles. Another idea? Look to a similar role in a competitive company to ferret out competency information.

Performance Management

Competency based management can be used throughout the entire performance management cycle. In planning, performance objectives (the “what”) are set, but the competencies (the “how”) are shaped by management with regards to the culture and the “how things are done around here” mindset.

Only about half of employees in a Gallup study strongly agreed that they know what’s expected of them at work.In ongoing performance monitoring, coaching and continuous feedback, competencies give managers a baseline to construct feedback. Competencies enable managers to identify strengths and weaknesses in the behaviors that affect how work is completed. They also help clarify expectations in a way that opens the employees’ eyes to the personal barriers that stop them from reaching their full potential.

CC-Click-ToTweetBird-01.png Only about half of employees in a @Gallup survey agreed they know what's expected of them at work.

Setting expectations according to competency models: This takes a bit of planning. If you are just now introducing competencies into your performance management model, you may not have the onboarding information we discussed in the earlier section. Don’t worry. You can start slowly and build on competency models as you go. But don’t spring this on employees! Work with them to determine competencies in each role. Let employees know that you will be determining your company values and key competencies for each role. You might be surprised to get feedback from high performers. If your performance management software has this enabled, that is a huge first step. If not, download this competency model worksheet to help you get started!

Succession Planning

When a competency model is established for management level jobs and above, it should be communicated to the entire workforce so those aspiring to move into management positions can focus their own development. Think of this as an internal job advertisement for your supervisorial roles!

CC-Click-ToTweetBird-01.pngThink of competencies as internal job advertisements!


Competencies give employees a clear view of what’s necessary to be considered for management and gets more employees on the path to leadership sooner. Recent studies show one-third of companies have no succession plan in place for key leadership roles. Communicating what leaders look like in the organization through competencies is one of the first steps in creating a successful succession plan.

Competencies in Succession Planning: As always, having competencies in place during the onboarding and performance management portions of the employee journey will make it much easier to weave them into your succession plan. However, if this is the first time you’re creating competencies, you DO have the added bonus of getting executive feedback when building competencies. You’re also more likely to be able to get budget for HR software that has competencies enabled or supported. So be prepared! Create at least four key competencies for middle management or director roles and work upward/downward from there. If your executives can be involved, they will add color and insight to these frameworks you may not get alone.

So, we’ve delved into the many benefits of competency based recruitment and selection and now have evaluated how these play into talent management, as well! Next up on the blog are actionable things you can do to implement competencies throughout your entire lifecycle.

Want to know more about competency based management? Take a look!

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